Explosive testimony by a former sex slave in the Western Cape High Court has lifted the lid on the harrowing conditions prostitutes have to deal with Cape Town.
Tears flowed yesterday as the 27-year-old woman, who may not be named, revealed how she was forced to balance buckets of hot water on her head while being whipped, and how strained family ties led to her murdering her own mother.
The human trafficking trial against Springbok mom Leandre Williams, her husband Edward Ayuk and brother-in-law Yannick Ayuk resumed this week before judge Alma De Wet.
The trio are facing over 40 charges for allegedly operating a brothel in Brooklyn, where they forced unsuspecting victims to use drugs and work as prostitutes.
The state witness, who admitted to willingly accompanying Edward to Cape Town, says she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she agreed to become a prostitute after an altercation with her family in Springs during 2017.
Sitting in dock, she explained she arrived in Cape Town in January and worked as a prostitute until March of that year.
She says the girls were locked in rooms which could not open from the inside and they were given two meals a day.
All the girls would work 12-hour shifts on the streets of Brooklyn under the watchful eye of the brothers, servicing about 20 clients each night.
But they were forced to hand over their takings to Edward: “He would become aggressive and klap me or push me around and say I mustn’t f*** with his business.”
During the day, the girls would sleep but still be on call for clients who came to the brothel.
“Ayuk [Edward] gave us rocks to smoke before we go work and when we come home to boost our sexual urges. He also gave us blue pills but I don’t know what it was.”
She says after a few weeks, she decided she no longer wanted to be a sex worker and managed to escape with a client named Joel from Bloubergstrand.
But her freedom was short-lived; several days later she was contacted by a client of Edward and after arranging to meet, she was ambushed and bundled in the back of Edward’s car and taken back to the brothel.
Here, Edward forced her to balance a bucket of hot water on her head while kneeling on a broomstick.
He then allegedly gave her 10 lashes with an electric cord as punishment for running away.
“I stayed in the house and only Zoe went to work that week. I even begged at his feet saying, ’Daddy, I will not run away’, but I knew I wanted to break away from him.”
She says in March 2017, she finally made her great escape when she told a client what was happening.
But the man put her out of his car in Maitland.
She then received assistance from a woman in a park who helped her get back home.
The hartseer woman told the court she started using more drugs to deal with the trauma, resulting in multiple fights with her family, until one of those fights turned fatal.
“My sister was arguing with me about being a prostitute and having HIV. I grabbed a knife and my mother jumped in between us and she died,” she sobbed.
The trial continues.